Former President Trump had our reporters and columnists writing as if it were 2016 again, and our readers sent letters and comments throughout the week as the news unfolded.
Whether it was the FBI’s “raid” on Mar-a-Lago, the unprecedented nature of the search, Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland’s request that the search warrant be unsealed, commentary on what the search might mean for Trump’s hopes for a second term or the Republican response and the violence it could spark, Times readers were chiming in. Oh, and they didn’t forget that this was also the week the former president took the stand in the New York financial probe into his businesses — and took the 5th.
To the editor: Regarding Sarah D. Wire’s article on Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland personally approving the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago: This week, the country has been flooded with lies, propaganda and dangerous incitement by prominent Republicans in the wake of this event. The disinformation and incitement have led not just to angry rhetoric but to threats and acts of violence already.
That kind of incendiary rage is corrosive to our country and our justice system. The FBI has not always been an exemplar for our rule of law, but in this case it has done the right thing in the right way. There is no evidence that this action was politically motivated or that the Department of Justice has been “weaponized” against Trump. If anything, the search seems to have followed more low-key measures, including a subpoena, to secure the documents in Trump’s possession.
Since Trump took hold of the Republican Party, we’ve seen a large swath of our electorate abandon truth, rational thinking, decency and a commitment to democratic norms and values. It’s not hyperbolic to say that if this mind-set continues, our country and its very fragile democracy could crumble.
TR Jahns, Hemet
To the editor: Jackie Calmes writes that many far-right Trump supporters are calling for civil war, after the FBI search of Mar-a-lago. Justice for Trump should not be delayed because of threats like these. If his delusional supporters start a civil war, it’s much better to fight it while Joe Biden is commander in chief and is in charge of our military.
Richard Armstrong, Carlsbad
To the editor: Harry Litman suggests that if Trump is disqualified from taking office once again for violating federal law pertaining to preserving official documents, it would help end “our latest ‘long national nightmare.’ ”
Call me cynical, but unlike Ron DeSantis and assorted other Trump wannabes, I’d be deeply disappointed. If Trump runs again, I think is the best shot we have at the Republican Party’s self-immolation. Talk about ending the nightmare!
Then all we have to do is hope that a rational and responsible party arises out of the ashes. (Are the Whigs busy?) OK, it will be more conservative than I would want, but at least we’d be less worried about getting our lunch money stolen in broad daylight. Maybe I’m dreaming. But I’m more than willing to take the chance.
Claude Goldenberg, Seal Beach
To the editor: It’s interesting to see the anger and threats of violence generated by the FBI’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. Trump and his supporters are acting as if it’s completely unwarranted for the FBI to take this unprecedented action. We’ve learned from experience that the former president cannot be trusted, so this kind of search of his home may be the only way to find the real truth.
Regarding the anger from Trump and Republican lawmakers and extreme threats of violence coming from right-wing extremists over the raid at Mar-a-Lago, where was their anger over the Jan. 6 raid on our Capitol? Apparently, that didn’t bother them so much.
Joanna Ryder, Hermosa Beach
To the editor: Somebody finally figured out how to keep Trump from talking. Put him under oath and on the record.
Robert Brewer, Sherman Oaks
To the editor: In the coming days the country may learn whether Trump and his allies will successfully discredit the Department of Justice and render the FBI findings irrelevant. Alternatively, the country may learn the gravity of Trump’s self-serving, potentially criminal behavior and how he has used the decency of Americans for his personal gain.
If the former prevails, Trump may be on his way to reelection and American democracy may be over. If the latter, Republican politicians will likely be running for cover to disavow that they supported Trump’s misdeeds. Some Trump voters will initially doubt the findings but may come to feel furious that they have been used. They may vent their fury by abandoning the Republican Party.
We must rely on a responsible press to clearly inform the public and counter any confusion and distortion created by the far-right on social media as the news unfolds.
Sidney Weissman, Highland Park, Ill.
Maret Orliss is an assistant Op-Ed editor for the Los Angeles Times. She previously helped lead The Times events department, including programming the Festival of Books for 15 years. She is a former bookseller, a regular visiting faculty member for UC Riverside-Palm Desert’s MFA program, a lifelong Californian and a graduate of Occidental College.
Letters to the Editor
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